When I first created this site I didn't know if I would ever talk about my difficult journey postpartum. It's always much easier to tell other peoples stories than it is to tell your own. And while I have talked a little about my ups and downs postpartum on Instagram and in blog posts, I've never told this part of the story. Mostly because it's really personal and also because my family sometimes reads this stuff and I'm about to get real intimate with yall. (I'm bout to talk s.e.x.) So if you're my mom or dad or brother you should probably stop reading now. Seriously.
Tonight is the eve of my first baby's eighth birthday. Eight. Eight years ago my life flipped upside down and right side up in all the best ways. Eight years ago I learned what it meant to love. Eight years ago I started a journey that would lead me to start this blog and share these stories and connect women around the globe through our triumphs and our struggles and our unwavering, unbreakable bond that we share in motherhood. This is my story.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mother. I think I stopped playing with dolls when I was like, 13. So when I got pregnant at 20 I wasn’t scared. Sure I was young, and sure I didn’t have my shit together (I'm 28 now and still waiting for that shit to get itself together) But taking care of a tiny life, becoming a mom, that was exciting.
I remember after Peyton was born my husband kept saying ‘Im supposed to be looking for signs of postpartum depression’ like aversions from the baby or maybe not ever wanting to let her leave my side. I was fine. I loved her, and being her mom felt every bit as natural as I had always expected. I didn’t care when other people held her or fed her. I didn’t freak out when I had to go back to school full time when she was only two months old. There were no compulsive thoughts or feelings of inadequacy. I was fine.
But I wasn't fine. Not completely.
Reading the birth boards I was on there was always that woman, the one who couldn't wait the 6 weeks to have sex. Are you actually crazy? Sex was so far from my mind it was in like, Pluto. Like, back when Pluto was a planet, far away. Far. Far away. I tore terribly with my first. I ripped upwards and every day tasks such as peeing, were torturous. I literally had to fill up the tub and sit in it every time I went pee for the first two weeks postpartum. So yeah, no sex for me please and thank you.
And that’s normal right? I mean I wasn’t even technically allowed to have sex for 6 weeks anyway, and most of the other women on the boards all thought those 2 weekers were crazy too. So I’m still normal.
And then 6 weeks came and I reluctantly had to tell my husband that I was ‘good to go.’ He was thrilled, me, not so much. We tried. It hurt. Like a mother fucker (no pun intended). Awful. And that was normal too, right? I was still healing from a bad tear, I had still just given birth (to a 9 lb baby might I add) It would probably take some time. But how long? Every time it hurt and even worse than it hurting was the fact that I still didn’t want to do it. The thought of being touched made me cringe. Every night we would climb in bed and I would pray that he would just go to sleep. And when he stared kissing me, I would cry. I would silently cry while we attempted to have sex. I say attempted because every position still hurt. I was broken.
So here I am, in pain, with zero sexual desires, and all I could do was feel awful for my husband. I loved him, I was so very attracted to him, I wanted to want to have sex with him. I just couldn’t. I constantly said ‘it's’ not you, it’s me’ and I’m not sure he believed me because how shitty does it feel when your partner feels repulsed by the thought of being intimate with you? It must feel really really shitty.
I thought it may have been because of my postpartum body. I was fat and jiggly. I had stretch marks. My boobs were massive and much much lower than they once were. I was unhappy with how I felt and looked. And as much as he would assure me that I was beautiful, I didn’t believe it. So that must have been it.
But it had to be something more than that because not only did I not want to be touched, I didn’t want to touch him. I didn't know what to do. I was so scared that it would never go away. That I would never want to be intimate with my partner ever again.
This wasn't just a lack of interest in sex. It wasn't because I was wiped out at the end of the day from parenting and being a full time student and would rather sleep. The thought of being touched made me cry. The fear that he would try something would debilitate me. Going to bed was the worst part of my day. And then it just got to the point where he wouldn't even try anymore. And I was thankful. I was thankful that my partner didn't want to have sex with me. That he gave up on me. These are not normal feelings. This was not normal.
After about 9 months I graduated and moved home. I began to take care of myself. I started exercising and eating non poor college kid (with a kid) food. I started feeling like myself again. I took long walks with my daughter, I went out with friends, I got into a really great place both physically and mentally. And somewhere along that road, it all went away. I can’t remember if it was a gradual thing or if all of a sudden one day I was like ‘maybe we should have sex?’ and it was all just fine. All I know is that I was finally ok. And that was the best feeling ever.
When I got pregnant with our second I was terrified that it would happen again. I couldn't go through that. We were in such a good place and we were happy and I loved him and I never wanted to feel like that ever again. Thankfully it never came back with either of my next two pregnancies.
I learned to love my body in all of its stages. I learned to appreciate motherhood and what it’s done to me. I joined The Fourth Trimester Bodies Project to help encourage other women to love themselves and their bodies. I've tried to maintain a healthy balance of eating crap and eating carrots, and binge watching netflix and going for runs. I spend most of my time with my kids but I make time for myself. I found my dream job and in between the drama of life I'm mostly really very happy. Taking care of you is the most important thing you can do. Because if you're tired, or unhappy, or broken, then what use are you going to be to those who depend on you? And that's what this whole thing taught me.
I don’t have an official name for what I went though. I don’t know if it was postpartum depression, or anxiety. I don't know if I was touched out or if it was sexual aversion disorder (Whos initials are SAD... how appropriate) I never talked to anyone about it and I never got help. I can tell you that it’s not something that just happens after you have a baby. It’s not something that you should ignore and hope it goes away. So if you are going through this, reach out and get help because no one should ever have to just ride that out on their own. Postpartum is hard. It’s really hard. It’s normal to be tired and to be sad sometimes. It’s normal to take time to get back to how you felt before. But it’s not normal to be miserable. In any aspects. Never be afraid to speak up and reach out because I can guarantee that there is some else out there who has felt what you're feeling. Don't postpartum alone.
My name is Ashley and I'm the face behind the blog. I'm an almost 30 (esh, still haven't come to terms with that) mom of three living outside Washington DC.
I went to school for fashion design, but after having a baby my senior year, my high fashion dreams took a hiatus and that's OK! Because it lead me to where I am today, and that is a mother and a Doula (for the amazing team at Doulas of Capitol Hill). And that lead me to create this space that has become so important to me!
I speak sarcasm fluently, drink coffee through an IV, and I have a deep and possibly borderline obsessive love towards all things Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I truly believe that kids should spend their time being kids and adults should spend more time learning from them. I never take anything too seriously and I try to live life with my cup half full (of wine) My playlist is a perfect mix of 90's pop and Taylor Swift and I'm imaginary best friends with Blake Lively (girl get at me). In my free time (of which I have SO much) I can be found grammin over at @thepeanutgallery
Sometimes you have a really easy pregnancy and labor. Sometimes you have a rough pregnancy and a difficult labor. Sometimes one thing goes wrong, sometimes a few things go wrong, and sometimes, like with Alex, pregnancy and birth can't quit throwing you curve balls.
I'm Alex I'm a 28 year old first time Mom to my wonderful 11 month old daughter Fawn. I got very lucky with her, she is insanely sweet and mellow, and although she is a wonderful baby, we definitely have had our share of curve balls, starting very early in my pregnancy...
All I ever have wanted in my life was to have a family. All throughout college I was working toward a degree in Fashion Merchandising and in the back of my head I was like "yeah yeah, I just want babies". Everyone that has known me for a while, or even not that long, knows this about me. I have loved pregnancy, babies, birth and all things related to these subjects since long before I was becoming a Mom. My cousin recently told me "you know so much about babies it's almost weird". Which I take as a major compliment! I was a nanny for a number of years and absolutely adored working with those kids, I loved my job so much! I also am a trained postpartum doula, which I became over a year before getting pregnant myself. So needless to say, I've always surrounded myself with babies, because that's my idea of fun!
So fast forward, I get married to a wonderful man, I get pregnant the first month trying. Crazy lucky. I was on, the, ball with figuring out everything that needed to happen, hired a doula, looked in to birth techniques (I decided on Hypnobabies, and I cannot say enough positive things about it!), started researching home birth and birth centers. I was basking in the glory of finally being a Mother! I did a half marathon rollerblade race at 4 weeks pregnant, I felt great. I was thinking I was going to be one of those super annoying pregnant women that's "never felt better" and "forgets she's pregnant". Oh how wrong I was! I had a little nausea and woozy feeling but nothing that isn't to be expected. Then, at 5 weeks pregnant I started throwing up about 10 times a day and couldn't sit up without puking. Good times. I tried evvvvvvveryyyythiiiing! I swear if I heard another person say "have you tried ginger?!" I was going to hulk out on everyone. What I had was called Hypermesis Gravidarum, or persistent vomiting due to pregnancy, it effects 1-3% of pregnant women. Lucky me! So I was basically bed ridden, was throwing up blood because my esophagus was so torn up, I had lost 8 pounds that I couldn't afford to lose. I couldn't even sit up to read, I had to be flat on my back. I'm not one to watch much TV but that's basically all I did, and listened to books on tape while staring at the ceiling, thrilling stuff. I was desperate and REALLY didn't want to take medication, I just kept thinking of Thalidomide babies. So, I decided to try acupuncture (which, during the 15 minute drive to my first appointment I had to pull my car over twice to puke) and that day, I felt human, for the first time in weeks. I was still throwing up but not nearly as much, so I was able to go out and do things again, albeit everywhere I went I had to scan the room and see what I could throw up in, if need be, because when the feeling hit, I had about 5 seconds to find a vessel to contain it. There is kind of a loneliness to pregnancy already, you can't do everything you want, your body is changing every 5 minutes, hormones galore! But the fact that I spent the vast majority of my first few months pregnant actually alone, constantly puking, I've never felt more isolated in my life. I remember thinking, "WHAT THE EFF?!?! What did I do to deserve this?! I recycle, I don't swear much, I rescued 2 dogs, I give good hugs, whatever happened to karma?!" Also, thinking that this wasn't the greatest way to start off something I've been looking forward most of my life. I finally stopped throwing up at 18 weeks and felt so great after that! I never had a single token pregnant woman meltdown (I credit Hypnobabies and my stellar prenatal chiropractor). I remained very active after I gained my weight back (which wasn't a problem for me because I looooove food, and I had to make up for lost time!)
Then at 37 weeks I go to my midwife and baby had developed an irregular heartbeat. Super. I leave the appointment in tears, naturally. So I schedule an appointment for a late pregnancy ultrasound 2 weeks from then to get her heart checked out. In the meantime I went to another midwife appointment the following week and hear "we are concerned because baby isn't growing". Fantastic. I never measured past 36 weeks. At this point I remember saying to my husband "maybe I've had it all wrong this whole time and I'm not meant to be a Mother. These things don't happen during 'regular' pregnancies". I was feeling rather defeated. Wondering if these problems happened because I don't eat meat so I wasn't giving her enough protein, if I was eating too much sugar so her heart got all wacky. Of course you blame yourself, because you are the only one with any semblance of control over what happens to a baking baby. But in fact, I likely could have done everything completely different and everything would have turned out the same.
We go in for the ultrasound and the doctor says "well your baby is just packed in really efficiently" so size wasn't a worry anymore (she was 8 pounds at birth, so booya!) but her heartbeat was still a bit of concern so we had to realize that we may have ended up in the hospital (I gave birth at a birth center) to have her heart checked out, and she may need a "simple procedure" to fix it. No thanks to that! But it turns out that the vast majority of babies that have an irregular heartbeat in utero have them go away during birth, and that's exactly what happened, huzzah!
During all this stuff I had 3 family members that were pregnant at the same time as me, 2 sister in laws and my cousin. All three of them threw up during the beginning, not as much as I did, but they were still sick, which sucks. But that's it, everything else went just as planned for all three of them. So knowing that everything was hunky dory for them and I was having all this stuff come up, made me pretty confused and wonder why. I never got an answer to why, some of us just have more complicated pregnancies than others for no reason at all.
Now fast forward to me at 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Everyone constantly asking "haven't you had that baby yet?!" I just wanted to say, "yes I have, can't you see, she's right here and I am now clearly no longer pregnant you FOOL!". I start having contractions (in Hypnobabies we called them "waves"). When they started I thought they were gas pains, because that's exactly what they felt like. They were very irregular and my midwife said they were just "practice", and I was having "prodromal labor" which means they are labor contractions, but you aren't technically IN labor yet. That evening I thought my water had broke while I was on a walk, it turned out it was a "high leak", whatever the hell that is. My midwife said "there is lots of fluid involved, this isn't amniotic fluid and that's what we are looking for". Cool, not I'm having fake out contractions and had a fake out water breaking. Why not?! Turns out I'd have prodromal crobtractions for 3 days straight, yikes. Some were short and barely felt like anything, some felt like my entire body was being squeezed. They weren't painful, but after a while they became quite uncomfortable, because my body was so sore from so many of them. I went to the chiropractor, which helped an INSANE amount with my discomfort, I trotted out of that appointment like I've never felt better. (Seriously, get adjusted while you are pregnant! It helps with the baby's positioning too!) Then my water broke. But I wasn't technically in labor, still. Yeah, that happens. But now I was on the clock. They give you 48 hours after your water breaks to have the baby naturally and after that you get induced because you start being at risk for infection. Nope, not happening, I did NOT want to have her in a hospital! I did more acupuncture, then my doula came over to try and get things moving, and did they ever! I went from having irregular contractions to involuntarily pushing in my living room (spinning babies FTW)! We pack up lighting fast. I try as hard as I possibly can to not have the baby in the car for the 20 minute drive, because once she decided it was time, she was coming out FAST. We called my Mom on the way and she didn't answer the first time so we called her again and she picked up and my husband says "The baby is coming" and she responds "well I know but what is going on" and he responds "no, she is coming RIGHT NOW". Meanwhile I'm having a conversation with my unborn child to stay in for another half an hour, which she listened to, good baby!
At last, we get to the birth center, when we got there the tub wasn't filled and I said "WHY isn't the tub full?!" And they said it fills up in about 2 minutes and they had to check us both out. When they said they wanted to see if I was dilated enough I laughed and thought, "you've got to be kidding me, of course I am!" Then I hear "fill the tub, baby is crowning", I get in the tub, I pushed on my own terms (with no pain, none, I'm still shocked, hooray for Hypnobabies) for 40 minutes and my baby was in my arms. So I was technically only in "real" labor, for 2 hours. Ta da! I had my baby, everything is perfect and lovely and now we can cuddle and have the loaf of bread the midwives bake you. NOPE! I hemorrhaged. So I have to get out of the tub, get in the bed and be given medication to stop the bleeding, which it did. I deliver the placenta. Then I try to nurse for the first time, perfect latch, we decided to name her Fawn, everything is now good, bring on the bread! NOPE! I had adhered placenta and had a 4th degree tear, so would be transferred to the hospital to get my tear fixed, the midwife said "I could fix it here but you'll be more comfortable and they will do a better job at the hospital", yeah, I don't want to mess around with that area, I want the "better job". I was going to need a procedure to get the placenta removed, but it ended up coming out on its own. Fawn was put in her car seat just over 2 hours after being born. Pretty wild. Luckily the hospital was right across the street so we didn't have far to go. I was in that post birth blissful haze. So I went in to get my tear fixed, separated from my daughter just hours after meeting her. They gave me an epidural since I was supposed to get a d and c for the placenta, but didn't, so I didn't need the epidural. They said the epidural would make me numb from the waist down and last 2 hours. I was numb from the neck down for 7 hours and my arms were convulsing the entire time because my nerves were so messed up. Thank God I didn't have one of those when I was pushing Fawn out! That would have been horrible! I go in to recovery and my husband comes in with my midwife and Fawn and they tell me that she needs to be monitored overnight for a slow resting heart rate and we will have to be separated for 12 hours while she is in the SCU and I am in recovery. So her irregular heartbeat went away, but now it's slow... really?! Give this kid a break! I nursed again, they gave her her vitamin k shot, and she didn't even flinch. The midwife checked her heartbeat afterward because she said in all her years she has never seen a single baby not react to that shot. I'm telling you, my kid was born chill. Her heart ended up being totally fine, just very efficient.
I healed really well. I took 2 full weeks of doing VERY limited activity, just focusing on bonding with Fawn, figuring out breastfeeding, taking 40,000 sitz baths and resting. Which I am very very lucky to have had the ability to do. My husband and our family and friends could not have been more stellar. I was nervous about postpartum depression because I had 2 risk factors working against me, I had PMDD (really bad PMS) years ago and Fawn's birth was considered traumatic, well, her post birth was I suppose. I didn't end up having any sings of PPD or PMAD, I credit my amazing husband and all the help we received, and Fawn for being an amazing sleeper right away. But it took me a very long time to not start sobbing when I thought about that first night with her being hooked up to all those wires in a room completely alone, she slept for the vast majority of it luckily, I would go in to try and nurse her every 3 hours and she wouldn't even wake up for that. Every time I look over our birth pictures and I see the images of Fawn being held by my parents and my Mother-in-law for the first time, getting her first diaper changed, being weighed and measured, and knowing I wasn't there, I burst in to tears, still. I was SO worried she wouldn't bond well with me. Well she loves nothing more than being carried around in my arms and is a very affectionate and cuddly baby, so my worry was all for not. I still am processing the whole thing, I probably will be for a long time, maybe forever. But talking about it helps, especially to people that have had a similar experience. That's why I'm so glad to be a part of this blog. Since becoming a Mother I have found how incredibly important it is to be connected with other Mothers, swap stories and advice. I had so many things happen during my pregnancy that weren't "supposed to happen" but isn't that Motherhood? Being thrown stuff from every direction and learning to adapt and catch it all while also making dinner, nursing, wearing your baby and doing calf raises LIKE A DAMN BOSS! Being a Mom makes me feel so strong it's unbelievable, I've never felt more sure of myself. I'm definitely in the part where I feel like, yep, this is what I'm meant to do.
P.S... I never did get my loaf of bread.
Alex lives with her husband, daughter and 2 mutts in Minneapolis, MN. She works part time on a podcast with her parents and brother, and the rest of the time she is Momming it up, working out, eating or talking to herself. She is a baking and cooking enthusiast and tree hugger.
Ive been following Katie and Christina on Instagram for awhile now. They have the most beautiful little family and I love being able to take a small peak into their world. I reached out to them about this project because not only did they have to go through IVF to meet their sweet girl, but because they have the unique perspective of going through it as a same sex couple. I'm so excited that Christina got back to me and allowed me to share their story on here and I hope it gives hope and support to both IVF families as well as those in the LGBT community!
Before Kennedy, Katie and I started out as a couple in love. It was 2012. Girl meets girl. I was 22, Katie was 24. We met online through a dating website. We were so embarrassed to tell anyone we met online that it wasn’t until this year we finally came out with the truth. Some of our friends had already suspected we met through the internet, but we never confirmed it. Instead we had so many confusing, made up stories of how we met. It was hard to keep straight what story we had told people.
The first time we met was at a park by my house. I walked over there after I finished work at a restaurant I worked at in town. I made her a milkshake before I got off of work to bring with me to the park. I wasn’t sure if there was chemistry at first. It wasn’t until our next meeting that I knew Katie was the one. She showed up with flowers on my doorstep and that is when I knew. After that, our weekends were spent taking turns driving an hour back and forth to each other’s houses.
After we met, we just couldn’t stop seeing each other. One date led to another. We just clicked. We were married about a year after meeting each other. We moved in together. We started to save money for our future. Last year, we moved to a bigger town and bought our first house. It was time to start our family.
Katie and I started our Reciprocal IVF journey thinking we would make our dreams become a reality. I had always wanted to have kids but Katie didn’t want kids until she met me. She told me she wanted to carry my egg so we could both be a part of the process. We agreed this would be the best way to have children. As we embarked on our baby journey, we came across the saying, “her bun, my oven.” We thought this was an easy and clever way to explain how we wanted to make our family.
After our first IVF appointment, we already had in mind what we wanted. We wanted to implant two embryos and we hoped to have one boy and one girl. We also wanted to implant two embryos and hoped at least one would take. We never imagined implanting two embryos would cause problems later in our journey.
Our first round of IVF was exhilarating. We were so excited during the entire process. The day we received all our shots in the mail was like Christmas morning. We couldn’t wait to get started. It’s a long process of medications before we have embryos ready to implant. I mapped out who had what shot on what day and if we were supposed to take it in the morning or evening. In the beginning, it was mostly me who did the all the shots. This prepared my body for an egg retrieval. Meanwhile, we started looking for a sperm donor online. This took us several days. It’s hard to pick someone that will play a genetic role in your child’s life. We tried to find someone who resembled Katie as much as possible but also had similar interests. This sounds easier said than done.
The day of egg retrieval was terrible. My body was in so much pain. I was told many women feel moderate pain but of course I felt intense cramping. The pain continued after my surgery. It hurt to stand up, walk, and go the bathroom. I wasn’t focused on the pain though. All we could focus on was a phone call to see how our eggs fertilized. We were told we wouldn’t get a phone call until the following morning. However, Katie got a phone call from the embryologist later that day who asked if he had permission to open our second vial of sperm. The eggs weren’t fertilizing and he wanted to try the second vial. We both went into panic. What if our eggs didn’t fertilize? What if our dreams were crushed? The dreams of us holding a little boy and girl in the hospital vanished from my head. My heart sunk. We were left wondering what happened until the following morning.
The next morning we got the phone call we weren’t hoping for. Out of the 13 eggs that had been retrieved, only 2 had survived. The embryologist had to perform rescue ICSI on the two remaining eggs and hoped they would fertilize. He informed us of the low percentage of eggs that survive this surgery so late after retrieval. Immediately after our phone call, we starting searching the internet for any information we could on surviving embryos from this procedure. We found more sad stories than happy ones. We hoped these two embryos would be our miracle babies and our dream could still come true.
The following day, we got the news we didn’t want, one of our eggs didn’t make it. We still held onto hope for our last remaining egg. I was still giving Katie shots of progesterone each night preparing her body for our embryo. Every night we went to bed wondering what would happen tomorrow. This process had lost its excitement.
Sadly, we got the phone call that our last egg didn’t make it. The news was devastating. Day after day we had been holding out hope that we could still have a healthy baby from this procedure. We were left feeling empty inside. We broke down crying on each other after we got that last phone call. We didn’t know what to do. All we could do was cry. Katie had to go to work the next day but I was on summer vacation. I was left with my thoughts the days after this disappointing news while Katie had work to occupy her mind during the day. I don’t know how many hours I spent crying. I tried to not show how depressed I was and tried to get all my crying out during the day while Katie worked. My body felt weak from being depressed.
I turned to the internet for answers again. I had come across another option, embryo adoption.
Embryo adoption seemed like it could be the choice for us. What I liked about embryo adoption was that we could get 3 embryos and we could get our money back if it didn’t succeed in a pregnancy (if your health/age/history qualified, which we did). Unfortunately, this process is so expensive that money played an important role. We would have to borrow money from my mom to even do this procedure. We also considered that Katie’s body was ready for an embryo. We were still doing progesterone injections each night, not sure of our next decision. Our time was running out and we needed to make a choice. This could be our answer.
We moved along with the process of embryo adoption. We signed papers. We went back to our clinic for implantation. That morning we sat in the waiting room of our clinic. We weren’t smiling. We sat, staring at other couples in the waiting room wondering why they could have their dream and we couldn’t. Our names were called and we were walked back to our exam room. We sat, waiting. We didn’t even speak to each other. We were both consumed with our thoughts. Our nurse walked in. She was our nurse from our previous procedure and wanted to be with us during implantation. We had grown close with her and she was devastated as much as we were when our first round of IVF failed. As soon as she walked in, I burst into tears and she hugged me. I looked over and Katie was crying too. This was supposed to be a happy day so why were we both so sad? After talking with our nurse who consoled us, we decided to try IVF one more time.
We tried to stay positive but this time we were cautious more than ever. Katie looked to the internet for support. She found many blogs about IVF and other fertility stories. We both found this helpful. Hearing from other people who have gone through we went through was comforting. They had success and we would too. We looked into more detail when it came to a sperm donor. I found out as much as information as I could from the company after we narrowed our decision down to three donors. We were going to choose the right donor this time. The last donor we chose had problems during fertilization. This would not happen to us again.
We did the same needle routine. We prepped our bodies with shots. Egg retrieval day came again. I was in pain, again. After, we waited for that phone call the following morning, again. We were relieved when we didn’t get a phone call the day of egg retrieval as we did during our first round of IVF. The next morning, the embryologist called with great news. 18 eggs were retrieved, 9 went through ICSI the day of retrieval while the other 9 were left for regular fertilization. In the end, 11 embryos were fertilized! Two of those embryos were grade A embryos. The embryologist rarely gives out an A on embryos but she said these two were fantastic.
Embryo transfer day was so exciting. It was like Christmas again and we could celebrate! We sat anxiously in the exam room eager to have our two embryos implanted. We watched the ultrasound screen as these two little flickers of light were implanted into Katie.
Just as we had our minds filled with excitement again, we were faced with turmoil. Our second embryo miscarried. It was a morning I would never forget. Katie panicking and crying in the bathroom with blood all over the floor. I tried to stay strong and hopeful that we didn’t lose both babies. We were able to get an appointment with our IVF clinic that afternoon. The worked dragged on, followed by an hour and half drive to our clinic that seemed to take forever. What a relief it was to hear our one baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound. The huge blood clot we saw on the ultrasound sitting next to our tiny baby was terrifying. Our baby was still so small and the blood clot was four times the size of the baby. We were told the blood clot could take over the baby and end the pregnancy. It was unlikely our baby would survive.
However, the day came where our pregnancy had progressed enough to transfer to an OBGYN and leave our fertility clinic. That was an exciting day but we tried not to get excited. We knew the risk of losing our baby was still there. Yet, we had gotten far enough along to transfer to another doctor. It was hard to not feel a little bit of happiness.
Luckily, our baby got bigger and the blood clot kept to itself. We spent the entire pregnancy very cautious. I know parents worry but we were beyond worried. We worried about every little thing. We tried not to get excited about anything. Every ultrasound we had was a focus on the blood clot. We didn’t want to buy anything for the baby because we weren’t sure we would have one. We tried not to talk about all our fears because it wouldn’t ease all our worries.
As Katie’s pregnancy progressed, we started to feel little moments of joy. I remember feeling Kennedy kick for the first time. I wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe a little baby was inside there. A baby we both created. It was an amazing moment. All my worries and fears faded in that minute.
Our gender reveal party was an exciting time in our pregnancy. We had made it this far to find out our little baby was a girl. We had friends and family all around us as we all anxiously waited to find out the gender.
Finally, Kennedy’s birth day was here. Kennedy had been facing the wrong way the entire pregnancy so we scheduled a caesarian section. We scheduled it for her estimated due date. It was a date we had memorized already and we felt it was meant to be that day. We checked into the hospital to only find out Katie shouldn’t have drunken orange juice earlier that morning. It was frustrating, yet comical, that the day we were so anxiously awaiting for would now be delayed. We went from having a planned caesarian at noon to have a caesarian at five o’ clock that evening. We had to leave the hospital, go home, and wait around the house.
After we checked back into the hospital everything seemed to happen fast. Before I knew it, it was time to go in. Everything felt different. It’s hard to explain the feeling of being in a room, sitting by Katie with a mask on, holding her hand, expecting a baby to come out at any time from behind that curtain. Then, the doctor stated the baby was out. I didn’t hear crying at first which worried me the most. I had so many worries going on in my head that day. Luckily, it wasn’t long after I heard crying. I was walked over to see her and it was amazing. I can’t explain how it feels to see your daughter laying there. It was overwhelming. This little girl you had once seen as an embryo. This little baby was created in a tiny dish. She was amazing and she was a perfect product of us. I just couldn’t believe this baby was ours and she was actually here. I felt a huge relief. I was no longer thinking about the pain from fertility procedures and needles, the mental pain I felt when our first round of IVF failed, or all the money we had spent on the process. Kennedy was all I could think about. We had our family now and our dream had become a reality.
In the days following after Kennedy was born, I thought back on our process when I held her. It’s amazing to think she started in a dish and grew into this baby. I can’t believe what science has allowed two moms to do. I feel she is the perfect combination of me and Katie and we both got to be a part of making her. I also thought back to our little one we lost. The one that put Kennedy’s life in danger at the beginning. I thought back to the very beginning feeling we had when we finally had a successful egg retrieval, successful fertilization, and a successful implantation. I remembered the feeling of finding out we were pregnant and picturing us with our two babies in our family photos. I remembered the morning Katie had lost so much blood I thought we lost both babies. She was crying but I tried so hard not to cry so she was less worried. I remembered anxiously driving to our IVF clinic an hour and half away to hopefully find out if we still had a baby, but also knowing they might not be able to tell anything because they might not be able to pick up a heartbeat. Then I remember hearing the heartbeat for the first time and being so relieved. Every single day we were on egg shells, scared to even have Katie move, because we didn’t want anything to happen to our other baby. I remembered the day we walked out of the ultrasound room at our IVF clinic and all the doctors standing in a row in the hallway to say congratulations because we were far enough along to be transferred to an OBGYN, and giving us a gift. We were surprised because the blood clot was still very big resting right up against our baby. We just had to keep thinking positive and hope it didn’t bother the baby since it was continuing to grow. I remembered our first ultrasound appointment at the OBGYN and finding it hard to believe there was a baby in there because the pictures did not look like a baby, more like a seahorse holding a pool noodle. The most amazing ultrasound we had was seeing all her body parts and seeing her shove her face toward the camera (although it looked like a skeleton head shaking its head at the camera). There were so many moments I reflected back on to lead us to this moment in the hospital.
Katie and I have so much love to give Kennedy. We were already worried before she was born, but after she born, we worried about new things. Now we would watch her sleep, worried she would stop breathing. We worried over how she was put in her car seat. We worried about her weight gain. We were just permanent “worriers.” Even now I realize the worries will never go away. Being a parent means you will always be worried about your baby (no matter how old they get).
No matter what journey you take to make your family, we are all amazing parents doing what is best for our babies. Undergoing fertility treatments is hard. During our process, I always tried to push my thoughts toward the future. I thought about how hopefully, someday, we would have kids. I wondered what they will look like and what they will sound like. I wondered about their personalities. I thought of family pictures we would take where everyone would look so happy. The stress, heartache and money that was spent conceiving them would not even be a thought, but a thing of the past. My eyes would water thinking about these things but it kept me going. I just kept telling myself, one day happen. I didn’t know how long it would take, but it would happen for us.
We spent thousands of dollars making Kennedy. This is nothing compared to what some couples have spent to have a baby. Once we had Kennedy, the money spent just became a number and nothing else. There are so many options now to becoming a parent. Whatever road you chose to go down, be positive. Be there for one another. Having a baby has created a tighter bond between the two of us. We are now a strong team and teamwork has become a key part to our marriage. Teamwork was something that still needed improvement in our marriage before Kennedy was born. However, the process to create Kennedy tightened any weak areas in our marriage.
To every person out there who had done IVF, it truly changes who you are. The journey we go on is like no other. I am so happy we decided to try again because if we didn’t, Kennedy wouldn’t be here. I do still think about the “what ifs” with embryo adoption. We almost went through with it and I wonder if we would have two babies by now. I wonder what they would look like and how they would be quite a few months older than Kennedy is now. I think about our little boy or girl we lost who was supposed to be here with Kennedy right now. I think about all the tears, worries, and stress in this journey. I think about all the joy we will have now that she is here. I don’t know how it feels to be a mother who has a baby the male/female way without any labs or doctors helping you make your baby, but I do know the feeling you have seeing a baby you once saw a picture of in a dish. That feeling is the most amazing feeling I will ever have. I am so grateful for the help of science and for being alive in a time that has a process such as this. Reciprocal IVF made our dreams a reality.
We had such a challenging road to get to where we are today. A year ago, I started to think the road was never-ending to have a baby. I know some of you who will read this are still on that road and have been on it for way longer than Katie and I were on it. I admire those who continue to go down this path and keep trying despite the emotional and financial turmoil it puts you through. Stay strong.
We started our Instagram account to help TTC couples and LGBT couples. When we were struggling to make our family, we sought out Instagram accounts and blogs of families who were undergoing fertility treatments to help make their family. Reading blogs and following many families on Instagram gave us hope for our family and got us through our toughest times. The online community we have found has been incredibly supportive in our journey. It’s amazing to find others who are feeling the same emotions you are during a hard process. We hope we can help others too.
you can follow along more with their story and their family over on instagrom @babybaillymamadrama
Unplanned pregnancies can be scary and emotional. It doesn't mean that you aren't thankful for this new life you're carrying, but hi folks, having a baby is a huge freaking responsibility. And so when that news of "here you go you're life is about to change forever' shows it's face with those two pink lines, emotions can be all over the place. Paige's third pregnancy was unplanned, so from the very start it was difficult for her. Throw in the fact that she was physically ill, had a hard birth, trouble with her breastfeeding relationship, it's no wonder that sings of postpartum depression started showing up. Thank you Paige for sharing your story, I know it hasn't been easy, but you're doing it right.
I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd baby a week before Christmas 2014. It was a shock and 100% unplanned, and unfortunately we were not thrilled by the 2 pink lines at first. It took us a while before we were actually excited for another baby. We have a 5 year old with moderate non verbal autism and a 3 year old non stop talker so adding another baby wasn't in our life plan AT ALL. My pregnancy with Lucy was a nightmare from the start. I was never sick with my first 2 but with Lu I was vomiting (and also peeing myself because mom bladder, whaddup!) at least twice a day for the first 4 months. I had lost about 20 pounds that first trimester and then my second trimester was pretty normal, other than extreme exhaustion. My third trimester hits and my blood pressure slowly starts to creep, but that's pretty normal for my last trimesters so we weren't too concerned until about 35 weeks when I started vomiting again and getting severe headaches. I was sent to the ER a couple times for monitoring but nothing was too serious until 39 weeks. I went in for my regular appointment and had a terrible headache and pretty bad swelling. My midwife came back from checking my urine sample and did my blood pressure and it was off the charts high, along with very high protein levels in my urine so we talked to the high risk OB and he sent me to be induced right away because I had pre-eclampsia.
The induction was fine, I was already 4 cm dilated when I got there but since I was high risk and a seizure/fall risk, I wasn't allowed to move out of my bed unless I had to use the bathroom. I held off the epidural despite being told it would help lower my BP because this was my last shot at a natural birth, but I stalled at 4 cm for 12 hours, and became exhausted and got my epidural. About 30 minutes after my epidural was placed, I heard a loud pop and felt my water break and instantly felt the urge to push. I had dilated completely in 30 minutes, which is crazy. The midwife barely got there in time to catch Lucy after a couple minutes of pushing. They took her right away to make sure the seizure medication I had wasn't making her breathing labored, but she was perfectly fine so we got a couple hours of skin to skin and breastfeeding right away.
Her latch was never a good, full latch and I ended up getting blisters on my nipples while in the hospital. I didn't realize how bad her latch was until a month after she was born when she was hospitalized for enterovirus and a LC came to help me. Lucy has a high palate, deep tongue tie, and a lip tie which was causing the bad latch and her colic. We got her ties fixed but ultimately she still had a shallow latch and we struggled for 13 months to breastfeed. I exclusively pumped for 3 months while she had a nursing strike, but she ended up nursing again.
I never had that peaceful feeling while nursing her like I did with my other kids. Everything with her feeding was stressful and labored for me. I had a really hard time postpartum with Lucy because of the constant struggles throughout her first year, on top of taking care of her siblings. I didn't realize how bad my PPD was until she was about 7 months old and I saw a candid video of myself and I didn't even recognize who I was. My midwife was great about helping me and is still following up with me, almost a year later. I chose to go on Zoloft and it helped me tremendously although there are still days that it creeps in and consumes me. I never knew depression could be anything other than just being sad all the time. I didn't know my depression was showing itself as anger and resentment towards my baby. You're always told depression is never wanting to get out of bed, or just always crying, but I wasn't like that. I didn't know anyone who had admitted to having PPD so I just assumed I was just having a hard time adjusting. I regret not getting help sooner. Lucy's first year was a fog to me. I don't remember a lot because I wasn't present in my mind for her, and that is heartbreaking for me. I plan on training to become a postpartum doula so I can help other parents transition through the rough patches and know that things will be ok even on their darkest days.
If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression please reach out and get help
or call 1.800.944.4773
My name is Paige Carroll, I'm 27 years old and live in Arizona. I'm a mother to a son and two daughters and wife to Chase. I am an autism advocate for my son and a stay at home mom for all my kids. I also suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety. Paige can be found on Instagram @paige_carroll
As a doula, when I hear the phrase 'all that matters is that you and the baby are healthy' it makes me cringe. OF COURSE a healthy mom and baby are the ultimate goal, but your birth matters. Your feelings, and your voice and your goals matter. So when these things go wrong, or don't happen, or when you lose that voice and that control, it can take time to process and recover. And that's ok. Tricia had a traumatic birth with her first daughter and now that she's pregnant with her second, these feelings are flooding back. Today she's sharing her birth story and I know that so many of you will be able to relate.
My hope for a drug free birth started to vanish when, at my last OB appointment, my doctor wanted to schedule my induction because my daughter just did not want to join us in the outside world. When he checked to see if I was dilated, his exacts words were “I’ll give you a half a centimeter.”
I bawled all the way to the scheduling desk to schedule to be induced that next week. I had heard scary things about pitocin – how hard the contractions were to manage without pain medication and how quickly it could make labor happen.
We checked in at the hospital at midnight and by early morning, my contractions were almost unbearable. The hospital was supposed to have a birth ball for me to bounce on – it didn’t. I was supposed to be moved to a labor and delivery room – I wasn’t until almost ten hours of laboring in a shared room with another pregnant mama trying to not go into labor. I felt chained to my bed with a fetal monitor strapped around my massive belly, causing its own pain.
I wasn’t ready to relinquish my entire plan just yet so I asked for something to take the edge off of my contractions once I was settled in a L&D room. Instead of making the contractions manageable, it made me high as a kite. My husband still chuckles at the memory of me talking about the Muppets, the Berenstain Bears, and dancing through meadows. It didn’t help the pain and it made me feel loopy and completely out of control.
I felt helpless because I was exhausted and in so much pain from the intense pitocin induced contractions so, with a voice laced with defeat, I asked for an epidural. It was a teaching hospital so when the anesthesiologist came to give me an epi, he brought several students with him. I remember, hunching over, gritting my teeth through a few contractions, thinking, “Tricia, don’t say a word, you sound ridiculous right now.”
Hours later, when it was time to start pushing, I couldn’t feel anything. My epidural had left me without any sensation – and maybe that’s normal – but the nurses had to tell me when I was having a contraction so I could push with it.
I ended up delivering a beautiful, pink, healthy baby girl. I should have been elated and wrapped up in the beautiful moment that my husband and I were parents to this precious little bundle.
Instead, I was emotionally a wreck. I had envisioned her birth experience so completely differently and when I voiced those concerns in the weeks to come, I was shushed and reassured that the only thing that mattered was that she was here and in my arms.
That didn’t help the immense regret that I felt over a birth experience that was anything but wonderful. It was only magnified when I realized that my body, which was supposed to have been designed to easily nourish my sweet baby girl, wasn’t doing its job. She was born tongue tied and after she had that corrected, the lactation consultant I saw assured me that breastfeeding would be a breeze.
It wasn’t. It was so incredibly hard.
I can only remember a handful of pleasant nursing sessions with her but what I remember more of is her frustration with not being able to latch comfortably and seemingly to not get enough milk even though she was gaining weight just fine. I rented a pump from the LC affectionately nicknamed “the elephant pump.” It weighed at least ten pounds and so I lugged it to work every single day, pumping in a bathroom that was not private, praying each time that it would do
magical things so I could continue breastfeeding. I took supplements that made me smell like maple syrup. I was this close to ordering illegal things on the internet that promised to double or triple my supply.
I was a mess.
One evening, after a particularly difficult day, I rocked my daughter in her pink and green nursery when a dear friend stopped over with two gifts – a can of formula for my baby and a gallon of ice cream for me. She spoke the truth in love to me that night – that even though I had hoped to breastfeed and pump for many months to come, that neither of us were happy and that formula did not actually equal defeat. The most important thing was that she was well fed and thriving.
So, I gave my precious girl her first bottle of formula and she loved it. My meager supply dried up in a day. With tears in my eyes, I returned “the elephant pump” and threw out the fenugreek.
Now, seven years later, we are pregnant with our second and as we prepare for his or her birth in October, I am reliving this pain and regret again.
In the years since my daughter’s birth, I have realized that I set these hopes up on pedestals and let them define me in a way that I shouldn’t have. In all honesty, we probably should have been better educated at the hospital on what choices we had throughout my labor and I wish someone had said to us, gently, “these plans are wonderful but you never know what will happen.”
We are much more determined this time - we start a Bradley method class soon and we’re already talking about how much more vocal in advocating for what we want when it comes time to deliver this baby. I have hope that my body will work better this time in terms of breastfeeding but also understand that it might not.
To the mama reading this who had a birth or a breastfeeding experience that was the complete opposite of what she had envisioned – I completely understand how you feel and I grieve with you. Please know, though, that it doesn’t define you or the kind of mom you are or will be. You are the perfect mama to that beautiful baby or toddler (or teenager!). Peace and love to you.
Tricia Marchand is a former blogger and traded her piece of the internet webs for an Instagram account @thismessymasterpiece
Her IG bio reads “lover of art, books, God’s grace, interior design, travel & vintage.” All true
things - and when she can drink caffeine again, her survival method is coffee. She desperately misses coffee. She and her husband reside in the Chicagoland area with their seven year old daughter and their second is due in October.
Carey was one of my very first birth clients. From the moment I met her she exuded kindness and grace and she brought those traits into the labor and delivery room with her. She is gentle and caring and the epitome of what you'd expect a mother to be. But just because someone carries the traits of a good mother doesn't necessarily mean that motherhood will come naturally to them. Here is Carey's story of how she learned that sometimes becoming a mother takes time and that's ok.
When I was pregnant, I could never get enough of two things: strawberries, and birth stories. Luckily, it was summer and strawberries were easy to come by. But no matter how many birth stories I found, I learned eventually that I still hadn’t found the one I needed to read.
I devoured them in books about childbirth, sought them out on my favorite blogs, and even just straight-up Googled them, always hungry for more. In page after page of articles titled “The Story of Benjamin” and “Zelie’s Birth” and “How Cece Was Born”, I immersed myself in the tale as old as time of a mother’s labor and a baby’s first breath.
My favorite part of each one was the moment when the baby was placed in their mother’s arms for the first time. Whether by c-section or vaginal delivery, the journey was over and the joy of new life overwhelmed everything else.
It seemed like every single woman said that experience changed her life. They described feelings of overwhelming, unimaginable love pouring out for their babies in that moment, changing who they were and making them truly a Mother.
I couldn’t wait to meet the little October pumpkin kicking around in my belly. I wanted to have that special moment with him, too. We waited and waited and waited, but he was too cozy to move.
Eventually, my induction was scheduled and we arrived at the hospital, ecstatic that it was finally “baby day!”. Or, so we thought.
Forty-eight hours later, there was still no baby. Demoralized by boredom, discomfort, and disappointment that my dreams of natural childbirth were slipping away, it was a huge relief when I was finally dilated just enough for them to break my water and real contractions began.
Thinking about those hundreds and hundreds of women who had labored before me and lived for me to read about it, I tried to power through contractions that were unlike anything I had imagined. I tried to relax, moan, reposition my body, and use my husband and my doula to help.
Eight hours later, still no baby, and not enough progress. Feeling exhausted and a bit defeated, I accepted an epidural and was immediately thrilled with my decision. I was finally dilating quickly and felt incredibly cozy and relaxed, but I was still really tired and couldn’t sleep.
Four hours later, my dilation had completely stopped. My baby’s heartbeat was starting to drop the tiniest bit, and I knew that even if I were to finish dilating, I had no energy left to push.
My wonderfully sweet doctor made the decision, and I agreed. I only cried a little bit when she told me.
I couldn’t believe how quickly everything happened after that point. It seemed like they were still prepping me for surgery when suddenly, we heard our baby crying and they were showing us his tiny, red, screaming face. I craned my neck from the operating table to watch them clean, weigh, measure, and diaper him, then observed, mesmerized, as my husband pulled him close to his chest for his first kangaroo care.
Finally, it was time for my huge, life-changing, mother-making moment. Stitched up and back in bed, I was ready to hold my baby for the first time; ready to feel more love than I thought was possible.
It didn’t happen.
My little Rory glared up at me with enormous, bright eyes. I stared at him. He was the coolest, cutest, most incredible thing I had ever seen, but I felt numb.
I snuggled him close, shielded his eyes from the bright hospital lights, and tried to nurse him. We settled down in our hospital room for our first night with a new baby and my husband, exhausted, fell asleep quickly. I stayed awake almost all night, trying to process what had happened.
The next day, I typed in a note on my phone that I hadn’t expected a rush of love hormones to appear on Day 2. But they did. I started to feel a little better about having lost my ‘moment’ the night before.
We were released from the hospital and took our baby home. We introduced him to our friends and family and adjusted to being new parents. My scar slowly healed and began to fade.
People would admire my baby and then turn to me, gushing, “Isn’t it just the most incredible feeling of love? Like nothing you’ve ever felt before?”
“Oh, yes!” I would gush back. But it wasn’t.
Despite doing all the ‘right’ parent things and thinking my baby was just about the greatest human around, I still didn’t feel like a mother. I had worked in infant daycare and loved all the babies in my nursery. A couple of months in, Rory felt less like my own son and more like an extra cute daycare baby who just happened to be around 100% of the time. I almost expected his ‘real’ parents to show up, chat about his day, and disappear with him.
I hated that feeling. Why didn’t I feel the overwhelming, unimaginable love that it seemed every other mom had as soon as her child was born? Why didn’t I feel like a completely new person? Would the feeling of not belonging to Rory ever go away?
You hear stories about mothers with such powerful love for their children that they can move with superhuman speed and lift with superhuman strength and give up their own lives to save their babies from harm. I thought about these stories and compared myself to those mothers. I felt like the same selfish, self-preserving person I had always been. If something happened to Rory, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to react in the same way. The baby who lived with me deserved better.
But slowly, things started to change. Rory learned to smile and coo at us. I started to connect with him. We learned how to tell what Rory liked and didn’t like. I nursed him full time. We noticed how much more peacefully Rory slept in bed with us at night. I felt a twinge of pride when it became clear that Rory preferred me to anyone else. Somewhere in these little milestones, I became a mother.
My baby is now five months old and I can say without a doubt that I love him overwhelmingly, unimaginably, and impossibly. I would do anything for my little buggy and I can feel myself growing as a person and as a mom.
I wish I had read somewhere that sometimes, becoming a mother doesn’t happen in a moment. Sometimes it takes a few days or weeks or months of adapting and learning to love your baby.
Babies take time to develop. Now I know that moms do, too.
Carey Helmick is 22 and lives in Virginia with her husband, Kyle, and baby Rory. She likes to cook for loved ones, rummage through thrift stores, and play the ukulele. She also blogs at raisinghelmicks.com and puts cute pictures of her baby on Instagram at @careyhelmick. Please get in touch if you'd like to chat some more!
Jessie and I went to high school together and thanks to social media we have been able to keep in touch even though she's taken her roots across country. We both got pregnant with our first babies at the same time (due 1 day apart) and it's been so fun watching them grow up though pictures and videos. She has been pretty open about the struggles she faced postpartum after having her twins so I was really grateful when she reached out to me about telling her story for the blog. So why don't we let her take it from here.
Everyone who brings a new child into their home knows how overwhelming it can be. You have an insane mixture of emotions. Your hormones are all over the place if you have just given birth. You are now the most important person to this human being. I remember crying out of the unknown with my first - I had the "baby blues" as they say. It lasted only the first three days and then it was gone.
Then I had my twins. Long story short- I had my first ambulance ride since I was only 33 weeks gestation. They tried to stop my labor for 3 days. I was exhausted and done. I finally had my boys via csection At 4:25 and 4:28 PM on July 16, 2012.
Then the day I was discharged came and holy emotions. I was wheeled out to the waiting area for my husband to come get me and of course they wheeled me next to a new mom with her newborn baby going home. I lost it. I started bawling and I thought here come "the baby blues". I'm one of the lucky ones though, my boys only spent two weeks in the nicu before I brought them home. Many other nicu families can't say the same.
Home, right, I forgot to mention my husband just graduated with his masters in teaching and was looking for a job. We were blessed with a job opportunity the day after the boys were born and we took it. Only problem? It would take us three hours away from our family and friends and what was familiar. Oh and help. We were moving away from all help.
As you can see- this is a LOT to go through in such a short period of time. Add on the raging hormone change from being pregnant to having newborns- I can now see why I had such a hard time after birth. I remember posting on my family blog if any of my friends had experience with PPD and you can bet a lot of my friends posted the same things "get out of the house, go for a walk, try to make new friends, exercise, it's just baby blues" and the worst yet came from family (who I love dearly! Don't get me wrong) when they said "i hope you don't have to get on any kind of medication".
Fast forward 5 months postpartum. I go to my OBGYN for check up on my IUD. I ask my doctor if it was possible to have PPD 5 months postpartum. He said absolutely and pulled me into his office. There I sat crying to this man "I'm not myself anymore. My husband has asked me where has his wife gone. I sometimes think my family would be better off if I wasn't there because I can't seem to get a hang of this. Sometimes I wish I never got pregnant"
Here comes the ugly truth. I did not love myself. I would get so angry I would pull my hair out. I had bald spots. I would sit in the bathroom and cry counting down the hours till my husband came home. I would get so upset with myself I would hit my legs resulting in bruises. It was then I realized why some people who are depressed would cut themselves - it would bring some sort of relief to the pain you felt inside. Luckily I never got that far and I thank God every day that I didn't. I was a dead ringer for postpartum depression and I was put on medication right away.
They said it could take up to 6 weeks to kick in. I remember a week after i started I felt So much better. I wasn't angry. I wasn't lashing out and most importantly I was able to bond with my children. Why was I terrified to seek help? Because of the stigma that comes with it. I wish I would've heard stories from others about their experiences to feel better about what I was going through.
Currently I'm 4 years 8 months postpartum and I still battle depression but I'm not afraid to say I need help. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. I believe it takes someone strong to admit they need help! Now I know that I am a strong mom, a strong wife and a strong woman who happens to battle depression.
Jessie is a 29 year old mom of three. She has a 7 year old daughter and 4 year old twin boys. She been married for 9 years and her family is currently residing in Independence, Oregon
If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression please reach out and get help
or call 1.800.944.4773
the story behind the site
During the birth of my third child, there was a moment when I knew she was ready to be born, but my nurse was telling me that I wasn't allowed to push. That moment was followed by several more moments of internal physical, mental, and emotional struggle doing everything I could to hold her in. Twenty minutes passed in what felt like twenty hours, and after two quick pushes, my daughter was earth side. I left that birth knowing that I never wanted anyone else to ever feel so out of control and unheard in their labors. I quickly took the steps needed to become a labor doula and I haven't look backed since.
In becoming a doula, I've realized through clients, personal experiences, and relationships through social media, that there are a lot of taboo subjects when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I've also realized that solidarity and comfort in knowing that you're not alone is one of the best 'medicines' in coping with these feelings. Whenever I have a client dealing with one of these many issues (gender disappointment, postpartum anxiety, pre and postpartum body image struggles, IVF, loss) my immediate reaction is to find a blog post or story to send them that they can relate to. But in doing so, it has come to my attention that these posts and stories are not always that easy to find and access.
What if I were to create a blog where all women and mothers could come to share their stories on the taboo subjects of motherhood? A place that could be easily accessible to posts covering all of the topics that we are often afraid to talk about. A place where others who are going through those same feelings can come to know that they are not alone. I want to normalize all of these subjects and I want for us to be able to speak up about them in a safe and judgement free environment.
Our mission is to create a safe and judgement free space for women and mothers to share their stories of the taboo subjects that surround motherhood.
It is with this space, that we hope to help normalize these subjects.
It is with this space, that we hope to offer comfort and solidarity among those who are hurting.
It is with this space, that we hope to encourage those struggling, to speak up and reach out.
We realize that motherhood is beautiful, and amazing, and fulfilling. But we also know that it is ugly, and dark, and difficult.
And so, it is with this space, that we hope to wrap our arms and our hearts around you, for a virtual hug, so that even in the ugliest, and darkest, and most difficult of times, you will find solace in knowing that you are not alone.
It is my greatest hope that this website will become a well used resource for all of you in your time of need. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. And if you wish to become a contributor I would love to speak with you. Thank you for visiting and supporting my vision.